Are we at the End of World Travel?
I remember a few years ago trying to organize a summer class that would travel to Mexico for two weeks to study the effects of globalization on immigration. Several students were very interested. At the last minute, every single one of them had to back out because of the high cost of travel. Oil prices had shot up and what was usually a $300 plane ticket had ballooned into a $600-700 one.
Bradford Plumer warns here that as the era of peak oil approaches, cheap air travel will likely disappear. It will be less likely that people will be able to afford going cross country for vacation, or that academics will be able to go to conferences all around the nation. (Last academic year alone, I flew to Texas, Michigan, and Colorado two times to give talks)
It will also mean that economic globalization will slow down and it will be less likely for goods and services to criss cross around the world. No more Australian oranges in summer or cheap Wal-Mart gadgets from China.
But it also means that its less likely that ordinary people will be able to travel outside of the country and see the world, experience new cultures, or different ways of life. We may be able to hear about events all over the globe, but it will be less likely that we will ever have the chance to see the people attached to those events.
Should we be concerned that world travel will be out of reach for many?